Poker Basics: How to Read the Board and Which Hand Wins

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Published on 11 April 2014 by Pokerlistings 2954

When you start out playing poker sometimes it's confusing to figure out what poker hand you have, or which hand wins between two players at showdown. In this Poker Basics beginner poker strategy tutorial we teach you exactly how to read the board and figure out which poker hand wins. The first step to becoming a better poker player is understanding how cards work together to make poker hands. The good news is, with a little practice you'll start doing it without even thinking. the most important thing to remember is that you can use any combination of cards between your two hole cards and the five community cards. That means you can use two, one or none of your hole cards to make a hand. When two players have similar hands, all five cards are used to determine a winner. If both players had a pair of aces, for example, the next highest unpaired card determines the winner. If that cards is the same, it goes to the next highest card, and so on. If two or more players have the exact same five-card hand, the pot is split evenly between them.

In Texas Hold'em hands are made up of the best five cards from a player's two hole cards, and the five community cards. In Hold'em you can use two, one or none of your whole cards to make a hand. Sometimes your hand will be made up of just the five community cards, known as “playing the board”.

When two players have a similar hand, all five cards are used to determine who wins. So if you're holding A-Q on this ace-high board, you have a pair of aces and queen-ten-eight. If you have A-J you're playing a pair of aces and JACK-ten-eight.

The same is true when two players have a flush with the same high card. Both players have an ace-high flush but the player with the king of hearts wins since he has higher suited cards. Sometimes it's tricky to see which hand wins. The easiest way to figure it out is to determine exactly what five card-hand each player has. If more than one player shares the exact same hand the pot is split evenly between them.

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